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Stanford expects administrators to manage sponsored projects in accordance with the sponsor terms and conditions and within the established budget. 

Before the Award End Date

If you anticipate an overdraft on a sponsored project PTA before the award end date, either:

  • Transfer the cost onto another research related gift PTA or sponsored project which also benefited from the cost and provide documentation. OR

  • Treat the transfer in the same manner as cost sharing.

    before the end of the project period timely chart



After the Award End Date


If you discover an error after the award end date, transfer the expense prior to closeout.

If you determine an expense is unallowable to the project, but did benefit the project, you must transfer the expense to a Cost Sharing PTA for accounting purposes. However, the cost cannot be counted towards a Cost Sharing commitment.


An overdraft exists if after the end date of an award expenses exceed funding. An overdraft does not represent cost sharing, but it must be charged to a cost sharing account in order for it to be properly reflected in the calculation of the Indirect Cost (F&A) (Facilities & Administrative) cost rate.

If the award is in overdraft at the end of the project period, remove the overdraft from the award according to rules outlined in Stanford Policy. Expenses removed as a result of an overdraft should have been incurred during the last 6 months of the project.

Remove the overdraft in a timely manner

  • If total overdraft is less than $500, transfer lump sum (net of indirect costs) Expenditure type 56135 (which allows the Cost and Management Analysis group to segregate these costs for purposes of indirect cost calculation)

  • If the overdraft is greater than $500 dollars the overdraft is transferred to a cost sharing PTA. Your OSR accountant can help you with this. 

  • Explain reasons for the transfer. For example: Charges are legitimate project expenses, but funds were inadequate. This is accounted for in the same manner as cost sharing.

after the end of the project period timely chart
Cost Transfers at the end of the period decision tree 


Document the Cost Transfer

Include all the necessary elements of a cost transfer justification. The documentation of a cost transfer made after a project end date will be closely scrutinized. Large cost transfers that exceed $10K or 10% of the award, and transfers within the first or last 90 days of a project, and transfers that do not meet the timeliness criteria receive additional central review. 

You can facilitate  timely review by the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) by attaching detailed documentation.

For the transfer of all non-salary charges subject to the above criteria, a PDF of the general ledger** showing the expenditure(s) requesting to be moved MUST be attached to the cost transfer transaction by the originator. 


These charges are for effort expended before [insert Project Y’s end date] and they are appropriate per the Project Y award agreement.

These charges could not be processed in a timely manner because PI Smith was traveling in Mongolia and was not available to review and approve the charge.